Flowers names Ireland as target investment country

Head of US buyout firm names Ireland and Spain as his preferrred countries for investment

J. Christopher Flowers, chairman and founder of J.C. Flowers. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

J. Christopher Flowers, chairman and founder of J.C. Flowers. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Fri, Apr 19, 2013, 16:06

The head of US buyout firm JC Flowers, which invests in distressed financial institutions, has said Spain and Ireland are his preferred countries for investment in Europe.

Christopher Flowers, the former Goldman Sachs executive, is interested in investing in firms with about €50 billion of assets, he said in an interview with Manus Cranny on Bloomberg Television.

"The most interesting for us is maybe Spain followed by Ireland," he said. Spain has a "lot going on there and part of the European Union and that's appealing as an investor."

Mr Flowers moved to London from the US last year to examine investment opportunities in Europe.

He previously mooted the idea of buying a stake in Bank of Ireland or Allied Irish Banks if the Government guaranteed on potential further losses.

His private-equity firm is a bidder for the branches of Royal Bank of Scotland Group , and agreed to buy insurance broker Fidea NV from KBC Groep NV for €243.6 million in 2011.

It has also invested in the UK's Kent Reliance Building Society in 2010.

"Europe is a source of lot of opportunities at the moment as there are many companies changing and restructuring in our business of financial services," Flowers said. The condition of the euro is also "absolutely critical to the survival of the financial-services industry," Mr Flowers said.

"The euro will survive but it's not a certainty and it's a bit like Russian roulette."

Mr Flowers, a former Goldman Sachs Group banker, in 2000 took over near-bankrupt Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan with Ripplewood Holdings LLC founder Tim Collins.

They renamed the Tokyo-based bank Shinsei before taking it public in February 2004.